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Hyde Paperback – April 7, 2015
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Imagine that Edward Hyde, the alter ego of Dr. Jekyll, wasn’t the animalistic creature Robert Louis Stevenson created. Imagine, instead, that he was just a man and a misunderstood one at that. That’s Levine’s approach to this revisionist take on Stevenson’s classic tale, which is reprinted here, after Levine’s own story has come to a close. Levine’s version, narrated by Hyde, begins just before Stevenson’s ends: Hyde is concealed in Jekyll’s laboratory, Jekyll’s letter to his lawyer awaits discovery, Hyde waits to die. Hyde takes us back through the preceding months, covering the same ground as Stevenson but from a new perspective: Hyde as a newborn man, struggling to understand the world he’s been thrust into, driven by desperation to commit the acts recounted by Stevenson. We realize, in the process, how little Stevenson really explored Edward Hyde, how Hyde was a function of the narrative, an idea but not a fleshed-out man. Giving him flesh and humanity, Levine makes him a kind of tragic hero and gives the original version an added dramatic and emotional dimension. A fascinating companion piece to a classic story. --David Pitt --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Riveting Hyde renders evil in shades of gray . . . in his spellbinding first novel [Levine] offers many surprises and rich, often intoxicating prose. It’s a fascinating read.” — Washington Post
“Levine’s account is a masterpiece of hallucination; his narrator is feverish, righteous, intense . . . And about that confession: Hyde doesn’t open it, and neither does Levine. He leaves it to Stevenson, to whom he is faithful with his prose. The shockers may be born of this century, but this chilling new version is a remarkably good fit with the original horror classic.” — Miami Herald
“Levine’s intelligent and brutal first novel, Hyde, puts a fresh spin on the well-worn material . . . It goes beyond a companion piece to an independent novel worth reading in its own right.” — Columbus Dispatch
“Hyde is masterfully told, with plenty of damp and spooky London gothic atmosphere . . . A haunting yarn with a sumptuous Victorian atmosphere exquisitely re-imagines Stevenson’s ‘monster,’ the maligned Hyde.” — Shelf Awareness
“Richly detailed and engrossing portrait of psychological disintegration.” — LitReactor
“Levine’s evocation of Victorian England is marvelously authentic, and his skill at grounding his narrative in arresting descriptive images is masterful.” — Publishers Weekly, starred and boxed review
“Ambitious and imaginative . . . Taking the parameters of Stevenson’s story, but deepening and extending the details, Levine allows us to view Hyde not merely as the venal incarnation of Jekyll’s soul, but as a fully fledged character in his own right—and, in many ways, a sympathetic one as well . . . With compelling intensity, Levine makes a noteworthy literary debut.” — BookPage
“Levine’s masterful in his surrealistic observations of Hyde subsuming Jekyll . . . Cleverly imagined and sophisticated in execution.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Prepare to be seduced by literary devilry! Go back to Victorian times to find a very postmodern whodunit. Visceral prose, atmosphere you could choke on, characters who seem to be at your very shoulder. My sole regret after spending several hours inside Daniel Levine’s highly literate thriller is that I didn’t think of Hyde for myself.” — Ronald Frame, author of Havisham
“A gloriously disturbing portrait of man’s animal nature ascendant, Hyde brings into the light the various horrors still hidden in the dark heart of Stevenson’s classic tale of monstrosity and addiction. It’s Levine’s extraordinary achievement to give voice to a creature capable of indulging every impulse of transgression, while driving its higher self to damnation. Devious and ingenious, Hyde is a blazing triumph of the gothic imagination.” — Patrick McGrath, author of Asylum, Martha Peake, Spider, and others
“This rich, allusive, erudite novel is a welcome reminder of what a tour de force really is.” — David Leavitt, author of The Indian Clerk and many others
“Levine locates the strange beneath the familiar in this intricately imagined, meticulously executed debut. You may think you know Dr. Jekyll, but this Hyde is a different beast altogether.” — Jon Clinch, author of Finn and The Thief of Auschwitz
“Levine has staked his claim to one of the most compelling stories of all time, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and brilliantly made it his own in this knockout debut novel. The mind of Hyde is as dark and twisted and alluring as the night-cloaked streets of nineteenth century London, and this book is as much a fascinating psychological query as it is a gripping narrative.” — Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon, The Wilding, and Refresh, Refresh
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Top Customer Reviews
Levine's prose is atmospheric, lyrical and at times visceral. There is no doubt that he is skilled in recreating, even enhancing, the world Stevenson created. In Levine's hands, Hyde the character becomes more layered, even sympathetic. Telling the story from his point of view is a genius idea and what drew me to this book in the first place. Despite the creativity and the writing however, I was left with some dissatisfaction - characters and subplots are introduced and then abandoned, leaving me to wonder about their fates; there are unsavory passages that made me feel like I was wading through garbage just to get to follow the plot.
The author has a talent for description. The gritty London underbelly is presented with precision but the story becomes bogged down with detail. Some of the writing is beautiful but it comes at the expense of the plot. Hyde does not revel in his evilness; he seems resigned. Jekyll might repress his dark side but ultimately, he cannot deny it.
Taking on a classic is always a challenge and despite some excellent writing it is not completely successful. The dramatic tension is dispersed by the almost dreamlike atmosphere and the psychological explanations are a bit too pat. Still, it is a read that engrosses and is definitely worth a look. Recommended.
I started reading with enthusiasm and then faced a pretty big clunker on page one or two-- where the author dates the narrative in 1886, and then has the character referencing atomic particles, an anachronism that clanged. Anyhow, I persevered. [Mr. Walton caught me out on this point! See the below comment for a brief 'schooling' on the history of the atom]
Levine is one heck of a writer, his descriptive abilities are the best part of the book-- although sometimes they can get a bit gruesome and uncomfortable. This isn't a pretty picture of Victorian London, this is grimy, smell, depraved and hellish in many, many ways.
The telling of the story is done in a manner which evokes a dream state, which works sometimes, but sometimes seems to get a bit droning in nature (I really noticed this when I read the original book, which is much punchier in delivery).
I did not view Hyde as a hero, as one of the blurbs claims. It would be more accurate to say that his own behavior is often justified by his own voice, which he never had in the original, which is Jeckyll's story. But even his persuasive telling of the story isn't enough to hide the fact that he is still a deeply unhingy character, as is Jeckyll. The author explores the roots of both characters' mental instability, which I thought was perhaps the most disturbing portion of the book-- the depiction of Jeckyll's father and whatever it was that he go up to with his son(s).
Anyhow, the book is intriguing and very well-written. If you have a yen for all things darkly Victorian, this will definitely be your cup of English tea.
'Hyde', like the character of the same name, is dark, mysterious, and dangerous. It explores the meaning of self and sub-conscience. It shines a light on the dark underbelly of our repressed desires and what it shows us is frightening.
Overall, I found 'Hyde' to be interesting and enjoyable. The quality of writing was so good that I believe that Mr. Levine could write about paint drying, and it would still be compelling. I anxiously await his next book, and so should you.